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Best Time to Visit Ecuador | When to Go & Travel Tips

Best Time to Visit Ecuador | When to Go & Travel Tips

Thinking of visiting Ecuador, South America soon? You’ll find the best time to visit Ecuador, along with the cheapest, least busy, and worst time to go right here in our travel guide.

See what kind of weather, events, and prices you can expect at different times of year when you make Ecuador, “the middle of the world,” your next vacation destination! 

Why You Should Visit Ecuador

Wild Horses graze in Cotopaxi National Park during Summer, the best time to visit Ecuador

Jonatas Neiva/Shutterstock

Small but mighty, Ecuador is the perfect travel destination for those seeking sunshine, warmth, and tropical vibes in South America.

A diverse landscape makes Ecuador a beautiful location to visit whether you’re looking for sprawling sandy beaches and lowlands, the cool and majestic Andes mountains, a taste of the lush Amazon rainforest, or the Galápagos Islands teeming with unique and rare wildlife. 

Ecuador is small – a little smaller than the state of Nevada – and that makes it ideal for those who want to see all this country has to offer in a shorter time period.

You can spend a few days or a week in Ecuador and leave feeling that you got to experience much (though not nearly all) of what this country has to offer! Ecuador has 4 geographic regions that divide the country and give it such an amazing variety of terrain and landscapes.

There’s el Oriente, or the Amazon rainforest, in the east; la Sierra, or the Andes Mountains, in the middle; la Costa, or the Pacific coastal lowlands, in the west; and the tropical Galápagos Islands not far off the western coast.

Coastline of Bartolome island in the Galapagos during the best time to visit Ecuador

Don Mamoser/Shutterstock

You can see how there’s something to see and explore here for every type of visitor!

Whether you want to lie on the pristine beaches in the Pacific coastal lowlands, trek through the dense Amazon rainforest, check out volcanic peaks, soak in natural hot springs, take a cruise to see the wildlife of the Galápagos, or make your way up into the majestic Andes, there’s something for everyone in Ecuador.  

Quito, Ecuador’s capital, is a stunning place to sightsee and get to know the heart of Ecuador up close.

This colorful city is filled with cobblestone streets, cultural heritage reminders, and historic buildings and relics from the 16th and 17th century palaces and churches from its Spanish Colonial past.

For a piece on the best time to visit Ecuador, the Basilica in Quito is pictured

Lockenes/Shutterstock

The intricately designed and ornate Compañía de Jesús Church is a must-see for visitors touring the capital city. Neo-Gothic cathedrals, a monument marking the Middle of the World, and Plaza Grande are incredible sights that demand your attention when you visit. 

Friendly locals make Ecuador a favorite destination for international travelers who want to connect with the culture. Ecuadorians pride themselves on being welcoming and helpful to visitors from all over the world.

When you arrive, you may be presented with helpful advice from a local, offered a nice meal with regional flavors, and a friendly handshake upon meeting. Speaking of regional flavors, Ecuador has them in spades.

Ecuadorian cuisine is known for barbequed and roasted meats (adventurous eaters could try cuy asado, or roasted guinea pig), fresh seafood of all kinds, hearty soups (try encebollado, a tuna soup with veggies) fried and steamed dumplings (like bolones de verde, or stuffed green plantain dumplings), seasoned vegetable dishes, and deep-fried delicacies.

Traditional ecuadoian dishes with pork and chicken on a wooden serving plate

Fotos593/Shutterstock

You won’t go hungry while you’re here, and there are lots of rich desserts (like higos con queso, or sweet figs with fresh quesillo cheese) to satisfy even the sweetest tooth!

You’ll find gorgeous landscapes, adventure, delicious flavors, and thriving, colorful culture at the heart of Ecuador.

See the best time to visit Ecuador below, along with the cheapest, least busy, and worst time to go. We’ll also share some helpful travel tips for first-time and returning visitors alike! 

Overall Best Time to Visit Ecuador

San Rafael Falls, one of the largest in Ecuador, for a piece on the best time to visit Ecuador

Ksenia Ragozina/Shutterstock

  • December-April is the overall best time to visit Ecuador
  • Reduced crowds, nice weather, and perfect for beach time
  • Nice time to visit the Galapagos Islands with calm seas

The best time to visit Ecuador overall is from December to April (extending into May in some areas), when the weather is mild and warm with short bursts of rainfall in the afternoons.

This period takes place during the wet season, but surprisingly, it has better weather than the dry season. The dry season from June to September can be a little too cool, humid, and overcast. 

December-April is perfect for visiting Ecuador’s coastal lowlands and paddling into the Amazon via flooded roads and trails.

If you’re planning on enjoying the beaches or rainforest here, this is a good time to do it. Mornings are typically clear, dry, and sunny, with short afternoon showers that start suddenly and end just as quickly.

January and April are two of Ecuador’s busiest months. Expect crowds at local hotels and resorts with slightly higher prices as a result during these periods.

But don’t let that stop you from enjoying Ecuador at its finest – you’ll experience weather that’s ideal for the most part and perfect for spending time outdoors, and you can always come during December, February, or March for fewer crowds and more reasonable rates! 

Cheapest Time to Visit Ecuador

Volcano Cotopaxi overlooking a calm body of water for a piece on the Cheapest Time to Visit Ecuador

Pavel Svoboda Photography/Shutterstock

  • February-March, September-November is the cheapest time to visit
  • Discounts on flights, attractions, and hotels during these periods
  • Last-minute booking + great deals possible

The best time to visit Ecuador on a budget is from February to March and in September through November. These periods, especially September-November, typically feature the lowest prices of the year for flights to Ecuador and hotels around the country.

With fewer visitors arriving from February-March and in September-November, you’ll benefit with sharp decreases in prices.

Since fewer people come to visit Ecuador during these two periods (especially in September-November), you can get away with booking last-minute to save even more.

This is a great way to unlock amazing last-minute deals and packages that include flights, hotels, and even attractions in one low priced ticket. Avoid visiting over the Easter holiday, when crowds arrive in droves, to save the most on your Ecuador vacation.

Otherwise, you can be sure you’re getting a great deal by planning your visit outside of the most popular June-early September dry/peak season in Ecuador! 

Least Busy Time to Visit Ecuador

Ecuador rainforest pictured during the least busy time to visit with a foggy cloud over the forest

Eva Kali/Shutterstock

  • September-November is the least busy time to visit
  • Dry season for some areas with little rainfall and overcast skies
  • The Galapagos Islands, Quito, and the Andes are wetter

The best time to visit Ecuador without crowds is from September through November, which is the tail end of dry season and the first 2 months of the wet season.

The weather is very dry near the southern coast of Ecuador (Guayaquil) during this period, though it’s pretty wet in Cuenca, the Amazon, and Quito (which is up in the Andes, and very cool at this time of year). 

The nicest thing about traveling to Ecuador in September-November is the lack of crowds, which makes it easier to get around without waiting in long lines.

You’ll find it easy to find and book a flight and room at this time of year, with last-minute vacation planning enabling you to uncover great discounts and deals for your stay! Local festivals and events make September-November especially fun to visit without the usual huge crowds of tourists.

You’ll be able to spend time among the locals enjoying celebrations like Day of the Dead (November 2), Independence Day in Guayaquil (October 9), and the Foundation of Quito Festival (December 6) on the capital’s cobblestone streets. 

Worst Time to Visit Ecuador

Two young woman spinning their colorful dresses pictured in a city street during the best time to visit Ecuador

Ireneuke/Shutterstock

  • No true “worst” time to visit Ecuador with so much variation
  • June-September may be the worst time to go
  • Worst time to go based on crowds, prices, weather

If you’re interested in learning the worst time to visit Ecuador so you can avoid it, there’s not really a single period of the year that’s unsatisfying for a trip. If we had to pick out the worst time to go, it would probably be June to September. 

This is one of Ecuador’s peak tourism seasons as people are on vacation from school and work. Throngs of tourists begin arriving in Ecuador in June and the onslaught doesn’t stop until around September, when school starts back up. 

June-September is part of Ecuador’s dry season, when most regions of the country receive little rainfall. It’s also cooler during these months in most areas with high humidity and often-overcast skies.

This is much less enjoyable than the warm, sunny conditions you’ll find during much of the wet season – although that seems backward, it’s just the way it is in Ecuador! 

Fortunately, you’ll be able to catch humpback whales migrating off the coast of Ecuador during this period and take advantage of the events and festivals going on during the dry season.

Still, it’s not the ideal time to visit – you’ll enjoy going in December-April much more, or in the less-busy September-November period. 

More Things to Consider

Kayak floating on a light blue river between rocks during the best time to visit Ecuador

Eva Kali/Shutterstock

  • Ecuador accepts the U.S. dollar and many locals speak English. For travelers from the U.S., Ecuador is easy to visit because the country doesn’t require you to convert your currency or speak fluent Spanish to communicate. Spanish is the official language (with Quichua as a second common language), but many locals speak English. You’ll find that most of the restaurants, shops, and hotels that cater to tourists accept the U.S. dollar and are staffed with English-speaking locals who are friendly and eager to help you!  
  • Avoid the Andes in the early wet season. From December to March, the highlands and Andes Mountains can be stormy, rainy, and miserable for hiking mountain trails. It’s warmer at this time of year, but fast and unpredictable weather changes can shift conditions quickly. Expect hot, sunny days with frigid nights in the highlands any time of year. The temperatures get lower as you rise in elevation, so pack and prepare accordingly. 
  • The Ecuadorian Amazon often floods from December-May. The best time to visit much of Ecuador (December-April) can be one of the worst to go to the Ecuadorian Amazon due to the wetter conditions. Roads and trails are often flooded and blocked off during these months, though you may be able to make your way in on paddle boats instead! Watch out for mosquitos during this damp season and bring the bug spray! 
  • The Galapagos Islands are best avoided in June-September. Ecuador’s peak season from June to September is ideal for visiting much of the mainland in the country, but not the Galapagos Islands off the coast. You’ll find warmer weather, more wildlife spotting opportunities, and calmer seas by visiting sometime between December and May instead. 
  • Ecuador can experience “four seasons in a day.” It’s smart to plan ahead and look at weather forecasts, climate differences, and seasonal weather changes in the different regions of Ecuador, but this country can experience unpredictable shifts in weather like no other. You could be enjoying a sunny, clear day when a hailstorm suddenly strikes, or strong winds pick up out of nowhere. It’s best to pack rain and cold gear just in case when you visit, no matter what time of year you go.  

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Ecuador?

Forest with fog above the trees coming from the hot springs for a piece on the best time to visit Ecuador

pp1/Shutterstock

Overall, December to April/May is the best time to visit Ecuador for great weather, manageable crowds, and good prices.

This period takes place during the wet season, but it’s surprisingly nice weather with brief rain showers usually taking place in the afternoons and warm, sunny skies in the mornings.

Avoid January and April, which are the two busiest months of this period, for the smallest crowds and best prices.

The Cheapest Time to Go

The best time to visit Ecuador on a budget is from February to March and September through November, which are the country’s two shoulder seasons.

You’ll find the lowest prices on flights, hotels, and local attractions during these shoulder season periods near the beginning and end of the year.

You may experience a little more rainfall, depending on where you travel within Ecuador, but it’s not a bad time to go, especially if you plan to visit the coastal lowlands.

The Least Busy Time to Go

The best time to visit Ecuador without big crowds is also one of the cheapest times – September to November. These 3 months see fewer visitors than the rest of the year, and this holds true for all regions of the country.

Even the popular Galapagos Islands are less crowded in September, October, and November! You’ll score cheaper prices with more availability to book last-minute Ecuador vacations by going at this less popular time of year.

And with pretty mild weather (though wet in some regions), your stay will be very enjoyable. Try to avoid visiting Ecuador during June to early September, which is the busiest period for tourism in the country.

When kids are out of school and parents take vacations from work, the country quickly gets packed with eager tourists who book up the hotel rooms and make lines long at attractions, restaurants, and shops. You’re better off waiting until late September or October to come visit with fewer crowds and lower prices.

Final Thoughts

Ecuador has many faces to show its visitors, from the rugged and cool Andes Mountains (where the capital Quito lies) to the laid-back, sunny shores on the Pacific coastal lowlands. If you want a varied vacation with lots of diverse landscapes and terrain, it’s hard to beat beautiful Ecuador!

The stunning array of mountains, rainforests, volcanoes, beaches, tropical islands, and natural pools and hot springs make this country truly special for first-time and seasoned travelers. Who knows what you’ll discover and see in Ecuador? 

Check out these guides next to learn more about visiting some of the most beautiful and diverse destinations in the world.